2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

20th May

There was another very small arrival of migrants on the land with five new Chiffchaffs ringed as well as a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, a Sedge Warbler trapped in the moat  and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Lighthouse Garden.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Grizzled Skippers and Brown Argus butterflies were seen in the afternoon once the sun came out.

Elsewhere, another good bird appeared on the RSPB Reserve with a Kentish Plover seen from Dennis's Hide for much of the day. The last Dungeness record was on 17th April 2005. The Hoopoe was seen on several occasions during the day and the Bee-eater was seen at ARC for a while in the morning before it flew off.

19th May

Yet another quiet morning in the Observatory recording area with just ten Whimbrel and a trickle of Common Terns east offshore and a very small arrival of Chiffchaffs and a Whinchat on the land and eight Buzzards and four Hobby overhead.
(Late news concerns a party of three Pomarine Skuas this afternoon).

Twenty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.


Most of the interest was elsewhere on the Point with the Hoopoe showing well again at times along Dengemarsh Road (usually just south of Springfield Bridge) and a Bee-eater which was seen briefly in the morning at Dengemarsh and then presumably relocated at the  ARC Pit in the evening which it showed very well for a time.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster   ARC   19th May 2018 

18th May

Very quiet on both land and sea. An Arctic Skua and four Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and three Garden Warblers were singing at the Long Pits.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Six Grizzled Skippers and five Brown Argus were of note among the butterflies seen.

Elsewhere, a Hoopoe was initially found at Galloways Road on the Ranges and later relocated feeding along the edge of Dengemarsh Road.
Hoopoe Upupa epops   Dengemarsh Road   18th May 2018
For those visiting Dungeness in the next few days the Screen Hide on the ARC Pit is well worth a visit as up to three Bitterns have been showing very well there at times.


Bittern Botaurus stellaris   Screen Hide, ARC Pit   17th May 2018

17h May

Two Manx Shearwaters, 31 Whimbrel, four Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, seven Arctic Skuas and seven Mediterranean Gulls all flew west during the day.
Very quiet on the land with just a Grey Wagtail of interest.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

It was a decent day for butterflies with four Grizzled Skippers and three Brown Argus being the highlights and the hoverfly Xanthogramma citrofasciatum was also seen.
Xantogramma citrofasciatum   Dungeness   17th May 2018
Some time was also spent looking for some of the scarcer flowers growing on the Point with Clustered Clover being one of the best finds.


Clustered Clover Trifolium glomeratum   Dungeness   17th May 2018    

16th May

Very quiet in a cold, strong northerly wind. Two Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls and the hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull were feeding at the Patch whilst two Manx Shearwaters and two Arctic Skuas passed through. Very little to report on the land other than a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits. 

Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull   adult   hybrid   Dungeness   16th May 2018

At least five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

15th May

Three Spotted Flycatchers in the bushes and a Black Tern at the Patch were about the only migrants of note. A first-winter Mediterranean Gull and an adult hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull were also feeding at the Patch.

Four Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

An improvement in the weather saw lots of butterflies on the wing with an Orange Tip at the Long Pits, ten Grizzled Skippers, five Brown Argus and at least 250 Small Coppers seen and including this rare variant form radiata.

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas var radiata   Dungeness   15th May 2016  


14th May

After a calm but cold start to the day the wind rapidly freshened from the NE. There was little sign of any migration with just a Garden Warbler and a Tree Pipit of note on the land and nothing much to report from the sea except for two Hobbies arriving.

The first Bishop's Mitre Shield-bug Aelia acuminata of the spring was found and six Grizzled Skippers were seen in the sheltered parts of the trapping area.

13th May

There was a very small arrival of migrants on the land today which included a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, our first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, two Garden Warblers, a female Redstart in the Lighthouse Garden, a Whinchat and best of all, a female Red-backed Shrike on the east side of the Long Pits.

One of our pairs of Stonechats had recently fledged young in tow.

Seawatching was generally slow for numbers but after five hours did produce two Manx Shearwaters, five Pomarine Skuas, two Arctic Skuas and two Great Skuas


Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio   female   Dungenesss   13th May 2018




Stonechat Saxicola torquatus   Dungeness   13th May 2018
Male, female and very new fledgling.
The male (at least) would appear to be of the race rubicola.
At least six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

12th May

A day of mixed weather with thick fog at times during the morning and heavy rain from late afternoon. There was very little on the land (again) but the sea was more productive with five Manx Shearwaters, a Great Skua, two Pomarine Skuas, an Arctic Skua and a steady movement of Sandwich and "Commic" Terns. A Hobby also arrived.

A Grey Seal and at least 15 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

11th May

A day of quality rather than quantity. It remains extremely quiet on the land so a pair of Bee-eaters at the New Lighthouse was a nice surprise for one observer. What wasn't so surprising was the speed with which they departed the area. Other migrants included singles of Garden Warbler and Yellow Wagtail and just two Willow Warblers.

A decent four hour seawatch this morning produced a Black-throated Diver, 44 Manx Shearwaters, three Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas and four Arctic Skuas, ten Little Terns and 1391 "commic" Terns. Things improved a bit in the afternoon when a party of four Pomarine Skuas passed through along with another ten Arctic Skuas, four Little Terns, 16 Arctic Terns, 526 "Commic" Terns and a single adult Roseate Tern.

At least ten Porpoises and singles of Grey and Common Seals were feeding offshore.

Butterflies numbers are beginning to increase now with 15 Grizzled Skippers, 220 Small Coppers, a Common Blue and the first Brown Argus of the year.



Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas   Dungeness   11th May 2018

10th May

Over four hours of seawatching produced just 23 Manx Shearwaters, a Great Skua, three Arctic Skuas, a Black Tern and two Little Terns of interest whilst migration on the land appears to have come to a virtual standstill. 

A decent haul of butterflies were seen with the first Common Blue of the year, a Grizzled Skipper and 110 Small Coppers of note. Dragonflies are finally beginning to appear in some numbers with the first Four-spotted Chasers noted and lots of Azure and Red-eyed Damselflies and a few Hairy Dragonflies to be seen in the bushes.
Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae   Dungeness   10th May 2018
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus   Dungeness  10th May 2018

9th May

A pretty quiet day on both the land and sea. Over five hours of seawatching produced seven Manx Shearwaters, five Great Skuas and 12 Arctic Skuas whilst five Willow Warblers was about the best the land had to offer.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The first Small Heath butterfly of the year was seen along with 70 Small Coppers.

8th May

Another very quiet day on the land and fewer birds at sea although visibility was very poor at times.

About the only migrants on the land were four Willow Warblers and a Yellow Wagtail. The Pheasant was also heard again.

Seven hours of seawatching during the day produced two Garganey, two Black-throated Divers, six Grey Plover, 34 Sanderling, 26 Whimbrel, 13 Arctic Skuas, five Pomarine Skuas and 45 Little Terns of note.  A first-summer Glaucous Gull was also feeding around the Point. The most remarkable sightings of the day though were two flocks of Black-tailed Godwits totaling 170 birds which flew west this morning.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   Dungeness    8th May 2018
At least 25 Porpoises were feeding offshore but one was killed and eaten by a Grey Seal. A second Grey Seal was also present.

7th May

Very quiet on the land with just two Buzzards, a Yellow Wagtail and a couple of Redpolls overhead of note and barely any sign of a migrant in the bushes.
With a light NE breeze for most of the day the sea was easily the place to be and over 14 hours of watching produced seven Shovelers, 423 Common Scoters, two Black-throated Divers, 12 Manx Shearwaters, 44 Grey Plovers, 78 Sanderling, 138 Knot, 198 Whimbrel, 561 Bar-tailed Godwits, seven Great Skuas, 24 Arctic Skuas, 18 Pomarine Skuas (inc a flock of eight at 1816hrs), two Little Gulls, 853 Sandwich Terns, 3800 "commic" Terns, 106 Arctic Terns, 88 Little Terns and two Black Terns of particular note.

Twenty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

At least six Grizzled Skippers were seen in and around the trapping area along with the first Clouded Yellow of the year on the seafront.

6th May

With the light north-easterly wind continuing there was very little to be seen on the land but the offshore passage continues. Almost 14 hours of watching produced four Shovelers, two Black-throated Divers, 18 Manx Shearwaters, 26 Grey Plovers, 465 Whimbrel, 647 Bar-tailed Godwits, 26 Knot, 65 Sanderling, three Mediterranean Gulls, 785 Sandwich Terns, 16 Little Terns, 932 Arctic Terns, a Black Tern, two Great Skuas, 16 Pomarine Skuas (inc flocks of five at 1138hrs and six at 1901hrs) and 22 Arctic Skuas. A Little Egret also flew east.

Six Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

Butterflies numbers are slowly increasing with six Grizzled Skippers and 50 Small Coppers of note.

5th May

It remains extremely quiet on the land with just a few "Greenland" Wheatears continuing to pass through and three Redpolls overhead but very little else in the way of migrants.
Seawatching was much more productive with almost dawn till dusk coverage producing seven Eiders, two Black-throated Divers, 29 Manx Shearwaters, a Shag, 336 Whimbrel, 297 Bar-tailed Godwits, three Turnstone, four Knot, 21 Dunlin, two Little Gulls, 619 Sandwich Terns, eight Little Terns, an outstanding 2140 Arctic Terns, six Black Terns, five Great Skuas and 19 Arctic Skuas. An immature Spoonbill also flew west.
"Greenland" Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe ssp leucorhoa   Dungeness    5th May 2018

Ten Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the Point.

4th May

Coverage of the sea for most of the day produced nine Common Eiders, two Black-throated Divers, a Shag, 102 Whimbrel, 11 Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas, six Arctic Skuas, five Mediterranean Gulls, 256 Arctic Terns, over 2500 "commic" Terns and 36 Little Terns.

Very quiet on the land with 25 "Greenland" Wheatears being about the best on offer.

Porpoises were feeding offshore in large numbers with at least 34 counted. A Grey Seal was also seen.

The nationally very rare Grey-backed Mining Bee Andrena vaga was found at the Long Pits and a Green Tiger Beetle was seen in the trapping area. A Grizzled Skipper was also found.
Grey-backed Mining Bee Andrena vaga   Dungeness   4th May 2018
The RSPB Reserve hosts the only known breeding colony of this species in Britain. There have been occasional records in the Observatory recording area in recent years and this is the third I am aware of for this year.


3rd May

The highlight on the land was a big arrival of "Greenland" Wheatears with at least 120 birds in the area. Other migrants were generally scarce but they did include a Woodlark, seven Yellow Wagtails, a Redstart and a "continental" Coal Tit. Overhead, a Great White Egret along with 120 Swallows and seven Yellow Wagtails passed through.
After yesterdays riches the seawatching was pretty slow all day but prolonged watching eventually produced two Black-throated Diver, a very unseasonal Sooty Shearwater, two Manx Shearwaters, five each of Pomarine and Arctic Skuas and 65 Arctic Terns.

About 30 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

At least one Grizzled Skipper was seen in the trapping area and the first of the spring as was a Blue-tailed Damselfly. Several Brassica Bugs were found on the Hoary Cress in the moat.

2nd May

With fresh to strong onshore winds the sea was obviously going to be the place to be today but even old-hands at the game were amazed to see a new day record total of 472 Manx Shearwaters pass through during 11 hours of watching. (Coverage was from 0500 to 1830hrs with a 2.5hr gap in the early afternoon when the weather was too poor to see anything). In addition, 31 Great Skuas was the 12th highest-ever spring day total and the highest ever in May and nine Pomarine Skuas and 28 Arctic Skuas were also noteworthy. Other bits and pieces included 84 Fulmars, 1085 Gannets, a Mediterranean Gull, 752 Sandwich Terns, 238 Arctic Terns and 16 Little Terns. Notable by their absence were any waders, Little Gulls or Black Terns.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.


1st May

After yesterdays miserable weather it was a much a nicer day today and there were even a few migrants about. Of the commoner migrants 30 Willow Warblers and 50+ "Greenland" Wheatears dominated. A Redstart was seen at the Long Pits and two Garden Warblers were caught. Late afternoon saw the arrival of a Red Kite.
Seawatching was fairly slow but nearly eight hours of watching eventually produced eight Manx Shearwaters, a breeding-plumaged Slavonian Grebe, ten Great Skuas, 14 Arctic Skuas and a Pomarine Skua and four Little Terns. A Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was also seen.

With the first decent bit of weather for some time what was presumably the same Large Tortoiseshell as that seen last week made a brief re-appearance at the north end of the Long Pits. Numbers of Small Coppers are now increasing and a Hairy Dragonfly was also seen.